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New rail line to be ready by spring

New rail line to be ready by spring

Work to install a second rail line between Albany and Schenectady has picked up again.
New rail line to be ready by spring
Work continues on the rail line at the Schenectady Amtrak Station on Thursday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Work to install a second rail line between Albany and Schenectady has picked up again, with the long-awaited addition expected to be completed this spring.
Construction vehicles and materials are stationed just off the Erie Boulevard and Liberty Street intersection in Schenectady, as work progresses on the additional rail line that’s been years in the making. The project is part of an effort to eliminate a bottleneck and ease train traffic flow.
In addition to the rail, a new platform is being built to accommodate the new track. It will include a sidewalk and stairs to the parking area below.
Other work near the Schenectady station includes a bridge deck replacement and the installation of upgraded signals along the track, said Bryan Viggiani, a spokesman with the state Department of Transportation.
Some additional work was required at the Albany-Rensselaer station, such as extending a platform and adding a fourth track. A contract for the new rail line was awarded in May 2014.
Construction is scheduled to be completed this spring, Viggiani said. The project, which the DOT is overseeing, is part of close to $200 million worth of upgrades throughout the Empire Corridor.
The added rail line between the Schenectady and Albany-Rensselaer stations will allow traffic to flow two ways. In the past, delays would ensue when freight trains and passenger trains waited for each other to clear the single track.
Amtrak personnel started installing the new track in June. From that point, crews still needed to upgrade signals, lay new cable and modernize technology before trains could roll through.
The timetable surrounding a new Schenectady Amtrak station remains less clear.
As of now, the plan is to build a new station along Erie Boulevard in 2018. 
The process hit a snag in March when only one bid came in. And that bid, for the demolition and replacement of the train station, was way over budget. Since then, officials have split the demolition and construction projects into two separate contracts.
The rail work along Erie Boulevard is separate from ongoing repairs to the Nott Street bridge, which is closed to traffic for the next few weeks while CP Rail upgrades the structure.
Crews will work to lengthen the bridge, and widen the roadway underneath leading into the roundabout.
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